The Carolina Panthers, and a handful of other teams, are coming a bye week. At least for this week, Carolina has a distinct competitive advantage in a league where teams immensely benefit from the slightest of them.
And of all the teams coming off their respective byes, Carolina could find itself in the best position to cover, despite being on the road.
Carolina (+1.5) over Arizona (via BETONLINE.ag)
The Panthers will play an Arizona Cardinals team coming off a sloppy win. Arizona turned the ball over three times in a last-minute Week 4 victory over Tampa Bay. Carson Palmer's pitiful adjusted yards per attempt of 4.36 was comparable to Matt Flynn and Geno Smith.
Bruce Arians' pass-first offense will be a bad matchup against Carolina's secondary, which ranks just outside the top 10 in passing yards allowed per game. The Cardinals lack of a running game (78.8 yards per game) will make it difficult to sustain drives, while the balance that Carolina's offense has achieved between the run and the pass will allow the Panthers to control the pace of the matchup.
Look for a pressured Carson Palmer to provide abundant opportunities for turnovers, which should help decide Sunday's game.
Prediction: Carolina, 21-7
Indianapolis (+3) over Seattle (via Sportsbook.com)
The Indianapolis Colts are a home dog against a team preparing to play back-to-back early road games in the Eastern time zone.
Russell Wilson once again won a game despite a near-nonexistent adjusted yards per attempt number. This past week, it sank to 1.64.
Which of this week's best bets is LEAST likely to cover?
Seattle has struggled in its two road wins this year, and the Colts home-field advantage should invite problems for the Seahawks similar to the ones they faced against Houston.
It was Houston's inconsistency at quarterback that allowed Seattle to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat last weekend. Andrew Luck has been very consistent, throwing only two interceptions on a team that is fourth in the league in turnover differential.
Prediction: Indianapolis, 23-17
Dallas (+9) over Denver (via BOVADA)
The Denver Broncos have looked unstoppable thus far, but the combined record of its opponents? 4-12.
Denver has scored 30 or more points in each of its first four games. And while that torrid pace is a sign of the times, it is bound to slow down sooner or later in the weeks ahead.
Dallas will represent Denver's stiffest competition in terms of overall talent. The Broncos are coming off of a rout over the Philadelphia Eagles, and with a string of other convincing wins already under their belt, they could be coming into this matchup against Dallas a bit overconfident.
As a large spread-range underdog—an underdog whose margin against the spread is less than that of the favorite by 10 or more—The Cowboys have value at home as an underdog.
A proud Dallas franchise will be hell-bent on putting a damper on the endless Peyton Manning hype that has become a fixture of the 2013 NFL season.
Prediction: Dallas, 31-29
Week 4 ATS: 1-1-1
Season ATS: 4-6-2